Gingivitis refers to a mild form of gum disease, also known as periodontitis. It is identified by redness and swelling of the gums at the base of the teeth. In more serious cases, the gums may start to recede from the teeth. The condition is the result of tartar and plaque-causing irritation to the gums, and it can cause very serious issues if left untreated. Most cases of gingivitis are the result of inadequate oral hygiene, and the problem can often be prevented by keeping up with proper dental care.
Some of the signs of gingivitis include:
- Swollen, puffy gums
- Dark red gums
- Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing
- Bad breath or halitosis
- Receding gum line
- Tender gums
When we suspect that a patient may be suffering from gum disease, a thorough examination will be conducted to check for the condition. This examination typically involves taking digital X-rays and measuring how far the gums have receded from the teeth. If the gum disease has reached an advanced level, additional tests may be conducted. Our goal is to understand just how far the condition has spread so that we can provide proper treatment.
When treating gum disease, the primary goal is to remove the plaque and tartar that is causing irritation to the gums. A procedure called scaling and root planing reaches deep below the gum line to remove any unwanted accumulations that may be present. It also smooths out the root surfaces to prevent future buildups from occurring. It is very important to stop the condition from spreading to the jawbone. Once the jawbone has experienced damage, bone grafts and other advanced procedures will be needed to restore the patient’s dental health.
The best way to prevent gingivitis and gum disease is to maintain proper oral care practices. This includes brushing at least twice per day, flossing once per day and receiving complete dental checkups twice per year. Dental checkups are very important, as they allow us to thoroughly check for any signs or symptoms of gum disease. If we do find anything that appears suspicious, we will likely recommend that the patient makes changes to their regular oral care practices. We may also suggest specific treatments, such as scaling and root planing.
Gingivitis and gum disease can quickly lead to more serious issues if left untreated. We will work with you to help beat gum disease so that you can get back to enjoying excellent oral health. You may call us at (540) 317-1139 to schedule an appointment.